By MIKE FITZPATRICK AP Sports Writer
NEW YORK (AP) _ Will Venable sparked San Diego’s surging offense
with four hits from the leadoff spot and the Padres’ bullpen
rebounded from consecutive flops, finally holding off the New York
Mets in a 9-5 victory Wednesday night.
An error by second baseman Logan Forsythe allowed the Mets to
cut the deficit to four in the ninth inning. With the bases loaded,
Forsythe then made a leaping grab of Willie Harris’ line drive for
the final out.
Aaron Harang (11-3) won his second straight start despite giving
up at least 10 hits in each outing. Cameron Maybin had two RBIs and
the Padres built a cushion with a three-run ninth.
Venable scored three times. He tripled, singled and doubled
twice for the Padres, who rank at or near the bottom of the
National League in nearly every major offensive category. But they
have 56 runs in their last six games, going 4-2 during that
Josh Thole had four of New York’s 15 hits. Ruben Tejada added
three hits and a spectacular play at shortstop for the Mets, who
stranded 13 runners in a sloppy performance.
Center fielder Angel Pagan left the game with lower back spasms,
further depleting New York’s injury-riddled lineup. Mets
knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (5-11) lost his third straight start.
The last-place Padres arrived in New York with a four-game
winning streak and the best bullpen ERA in the majors. But they
blew two games in a row after leading by at least two runs in the
The Mets tried to rally again Wednesday, trimming it to 6-4 in
the eighth on a pinch-hit single by Harris. Luke Gregerson,
however, got out of the inning on Justin Turner’s double-play
Heath Bell, who blew a save Monday night, worked a shaky ninth.
Venable doubled off Bobby Parnell in the top of the ninth and
scored on a single by Jesus Guzman, who later stole home as part of
a double steal. Maybin also had an RBI groundout.
Venable opened the game with a triple off the right-field fence
and scored on Jason Bartlett’s sacrifice fly.
Dickey’s throwing error, one of two by the Mets in the inning,
helped the Padres score twice in the second on RBI singles by Luis
Martinez and Venable. Dickey also thwarted a squeeze play, cutting
down a late-breaking Forsythe at the plate on Harang’s bunt.
Forsythe hit an RBI double in the third and Alberto Gonzalez’s
sacrifice fly made it 5-0.
New York began chipping away with Dickey’s run-scoring single in
the fourth, but left fielder Kyle Blanks threw out Tejada at the
plate for an inning-ending double play.
Curiously, Tejada went in standing up as he tried to score on
pinch-hitter Jason Pridie’s fly ball. Pridie was batting for Pagan,
who homered in the previous two games. Pridie then took over in
David Wright doubled for the Mets, tying Ed Kranepool’s
franchise record with 2,047 total bases.
Tejada, filling in at shortstop for injured Jose Reyes, turned
in a jaw-dropping play to end the sixth. Tejada went into the hole
to backhand a grounder and quickly released a rocket of a
jump-throw in mid-air, getting Martinez at first by plenty.
NOTES: Padres manager Bud Black said it’s possible C Nick
Hundley will rejoin the team this weekend in Cincinnati. Hundley is
on a rehab assignment with Double-A San Antonio. He has been
sidelined since having arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow July
8. … LHP Wade LeBlanc is scheduled to start again Sunday against
the Reds. LeBlanc returned from a brief trip to the minors and
pitched six effective innings Tuesday night in a no-decision
against the Mets. … 2B Orlando Hudson sat out after leaving
Tuesday night’s loss with a strained right groin. Hudson said he
felt better and was available off the bench. Black said the team
was “cautiously optimistic” that the four-time Gold Glove winner
would be able to avoid a third trip to the DL this season. Gonzalez
started at 2B. … San Diego INF James Darnell singled in the ninth
for his first big league hit. … Venable matched his career high
for hits. … Padres LHP Cory Luebke faces 11-game winner Jonathon
Niese in the finale of the four-game series Thursday, a 12:10 p.m.
start. The Mets are offering half-price tickets for that game, just
as they did Wednesday night, when attendance was 39,589. Across
town, the Yankees drew a sellout crowd of 46,967 for their game
against the Angels.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)